The chairman of THISDAY Editorial Board, Mr Olusegun Adeniyi has been elected and admitted into the Honorary Fellowship of the Nigerian Academy of Letters (NAL). A letter to Adeniyi by the NAL Secretary, Prof. Ayobami Kehinde, dated 30th May 2019, reads: “On behalf of the President of NAL, Prof. Francis Egbokhare, FNAL, it is with very great delight that I write to congratulate you on your admission into the Honorary Fellowship of the Nigerian Academy of Letters (NAL). This followed your election on Wednesday, 29 May, 2019 by the Executive Committee of the Nigerian Academy of Letters (NAL) in recognition of your contributions to knowledge in the field of humanities, as well as your outstanding contributions to national development and exemplary character.
• “The investiture of the new Fellows will take place on Thursday, 8th August, 2019, in the J.F. Ade Ajayi Auditorium of the University of Lagos. The time is 11.00 a.m. The official letter in respect of the above will soon be forwarded to you soon. Congratulations.”
• Adeniyi was elected as a Honourary Fellow along with former Daily Times Managing Director, Dr Yemi Ogunbiyi. Also elected into the Regular Fellowship are Prof. Ifeoma Mabel Onyemelukwe, Prof. AbdulRasheed Naallah, Prof. Sunday Enessi Ododo, Prof. Ademola O. Dasylva, Prof. Jim Unah and Prof. Albert ‘Lekan Oyeleye while Prof. Tanure Ojaide was elected as an Overseas Fellow.
• The Nigerian Academy of Letters is a national academy and apex body of arts and literature in Nigeria. It is an autonomous, scholarly and non-political state institution for advancing scholarship and public interest in the humanities at the highest level in Nigeria. Established in 1974 following a recommendation for the creation of national academies by the late Chief Jerome Udoji committee report, there are four types of fellows in the Nigerian Academy of Letters: Foundation Fellows, Regular Fellows (normally resident in Nigeria), Overseas Fellows (resident abroad) and Honorary Fellows.
• Of the seven Foundation Fellows of the Academy, only three are still alive. They are Professor Emeritus Ayo Bamgbose, NNOM, Professor J. P. Clark-Bekederemo, NNOM, and Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka. The deceased Foundation Fellows are Professor Emeritus J. F. Ade Ajayi, NNOM, Professor Emeritus Adiele Afigbo, NNOM, Professor Emeritus Adeboye Babalola, NNOM and Professor Chinua Achebe, NNOM.
• Fellows are appointed for life and every prospective fellow must be nominated by a living Fellow. Self-nomination is forbidden. The Fellowship is given rarely to distinguished professors after a rigorous election exercise. Not more than two candidates from any discipline and not more than four in any one year can be admitted into the Academy. Elected Fellows are inducted at an investiture ceremony, which formally confers on them the right to use the post-nominal Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Letters (FNAL). There are currently 84 Fellows in the Academy comprising seven foundation fellows, 51 regular fellows, 12 overseas fellows and 14 honorary fellows.
• A 1989 BSc holder in International Relations from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife with a Masters in International Law and Diplomacy (MILD) from the University of Lagos in 1997, Adeniyi began his journalism career as a Staff Reporter with ‘The Guardian’ newspaper of Nigeria in December 1990.In April 1992, he left ‘The Guardian’ to join the ‘African Concord’ magazine as a Senior Staff Writer and in September of the same year, he was appointed the magazine’s Abuja Bureau Chief with accreditation to cover the State House.
• Adeniyi joined THISDAY newspaper in January 1999 as Deputy Editor of the Saturday newspaper before he later became editor of the Sunday THISDAY; and in August 2005, he was appointed the editor of THISDAY title. On May 30, 2007, he was appointed by the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua to be his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, a position he occupied until Yar’Adua died on May 5, 2010.
• Adeniyi has attended and participated in several professional and academic programmes in many countries. Notably, in July 2007, he attended the International Visitor Leadership Programme organised by the US State Department in Washington. He also attended the Chinese government-sponsored ‘Seminar on Press and Publications in Developing Countries’ in Beijing in April 2012. He spent the 2010/2011 academic session as a Fellow at the Weatherhead Centre for International Affairs, Harvard University where he conducted his research on the factors that shape incumbent presidential elections in Africa. He is also a Senior Fellow of the Nigeria Leadership Initiative (NLI) and a founding member of the National Stakeholder Working Group of the Nigeria Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI).
• Adeniyi has authored several books, including: The Last 100 Days of Abacha; Abiola’s Travails; Fortress on Quicksand; POLITRICKS: National Assembly under Military Dictatorship; Power, Politics and Death: A front-row account of Nigeria under the late President Yar’Adua; Against The Run of Play: How an incumbent president was defeated in Nigeria and From Frying Pan to Fire: How African Migrants Risk Everything in their Futile Search for a Better Life in Europe.
• Recently appointed into the Belt and Road News Network (BRNN) Council in Beijing, China, Adeniyi was a member of the Panel of Judges for the Nigeria Breweries Plc ‘Maltina Teacher of the Year’ for 2015 and 2016. He is also a member of the advisory board for the Africa Initiative for Governance (AIG), with a focus on partnering with leading academic institutions in the world for the award of post-graduate scholarships to outstanding Nigerians and Ghanaians who are expected to come back and work in their respective country’s public sector as change agents.